26 August 2015

2015 Where is LeeZe? Kavala > Thassos

2015 Where is LeeZe? Thassos > Samothraki 

2015-07-29: We depart Kavala for the island of Thassos. We plan to spend a night at Skala (The Port of) Prinos on the west side of the island and then move the next day to the main port on the NE side of the island. We arrive at Prinos and while anchoring, a Greek Coast Guard person on the shore is yelling at me to move. After much hand waving and yelling, I get them on VHF Ch 12 and the person (who would NOT give his name) told us that he wants us to anchor 1 MILE off shore. I am SHOCKED. Why? He says we otherwise will interfere with the ferry boats. I offer to move away from the port and more toward the beach clubs but he insists, 1 MILE!  Finally, I propose and he agrees that if I move 250 meters off shore, that would be fine.  (I figured that he probably was not the smartest person on the block and that a shift in units (from miles to meters) would confuse him enough, and I think I was right. 

We move, set the anchor, and do admit that the huge ferry boat from Kavala does seem to pass fairly close.

We go ashore that night to check in, cannot find the harbor office, walk around and come back. 

The next day we planned to move but for some reason, I blurted out that maybe we should stay another day and go to the beach club nearby.

Everyone agrees and we do that, having a great day. We come back to LeeZe, change, and go back to town to eat. 

2015-07-31:  The weather is starting to build but my GRIB forecast says that once we round the northern cape of the island, the wind will die down and the waves will flatten. So, we are underway and GRIB is right. We approach Limenas, Thassos from the west and the harbor's entrance is hidden from view by the multitude of ferry boats that are at the slips. We get into the harbor, drop the hook and call the Port on VHF Ch 12. They finally answer and tell us to call them on the cell phone, giving us only 5 numbers. Trying NOT to to sound stupid, I ask them for their entire telephone # and they seem exasperated that I have to ask. (A harbinger of things to come?) Eventually I get them on the cell and we agree on a spot to med moor along the wall. 

We do moor, and it goes relatively smoothly, except in the end, I feel I am way to close to a small cabin cruiser to port. But that gets resolved and Zehra and I go to check in. I made a FUNDAMENTAL error. I failed to bring our guests' passports with us. Since we had added their names to the cruising log in Kavala, I did not think I would need them. 

But this Port Authority (Greek Coast Guard) made it ABSOLUTELY HARD to check in. They wanted to see our passports, insurance, registration and my license to drive LeeZe. I told him that the USA does not require us to have a license and then he spouted some BS that Greek Law requires me to have a license. He wanted me to prove to him that I was not required to have a license. (How does one prove a negative?) He would NOT let us leave while he checked what to do with us and while the office was cool, I at least felt that I was being detained. In all the years that we have been coming to Greece, this question has never come up. 

So while this "person" is running around trying to see what to do with us, he does stamp our cruising log (after calling Kavala to confirm that our guest has indeed checked in there) and puts in on his desk. While he is "out and about" Zehra suggests I give to him my USCG card saying that I completed a safe boating course back in 1999. I do, he is happy, and we get to leave. But the issue is still not resolved because the next American owner who comes into Thassos will have to go thru the same rigamarole because this person / office does not understand the rules. (We has this same question asked of us in Marmaris, Turkey some years ago by the agent we had to hire to check into Turkey. To make a long story short, she ACTED like she did us a favor by convincing the Port Captain that I did not need a license. Later that same week, we physically went to the Port Captain, and looked at his rules, which EXPLICITLY state that if the host country does not require their owner-captains to have licenses, neither can Turkey. MY guess is that this is the same in Greece.)

I intend to resolve after we depart Greece as I feel that if I made a scene now, retribution will follow. 

2015-08-02. We are really enjoying this port and today, I wanted all of us to got to a real beach club and relax. But Murphy heard me and about 1030, one of our guests tells me that the toilet will NOT flush. In addition, at about the same time, I figured out that the head's shower/sink sump pump is also not working. 

After trying all of the usual tricks to get the head to flush, I realize it is really broke and that I need to disassemble it and install the spare macerator I have. I kick everyone off and over the next 8-9 hours, replace the macerator and the electronic control panel because that also was burned out. 

I have NO idea how it came to be that three items (macerator, control panel AND sump pump) all broke at the same time, and with guests on board!

I am not going to go thru the gory and messy details but it is NOT a job I every want to do again! The new macerator came with a different piping arrangement than the old one and I had to try a couple of times to get it all to go together and connect with the piping in the bulkhead. (For those that might not know, the entire inner workings of a toilet are in and under the toilet bowl, where space is a premium and not a whole lot of ways to check for leaks!) Then, worried about leaks, but keeping an eye toward the future that so poor slob, (hopefully NOT me) would have to replace it, I used sealing caulk where needed, but did not go overboard. (The yard must have used TUBES of the stuff when assembling the toilet because it was everywhere!.)

The actual job to replace the control panel required me to fish wires thru a narrow space behind the bulkhead to a junction box under the sink. I knew to use string and attach it to the old wires so when I pulled them out, the string would be my guide but all did not go as planned. (Murphy!) Hours later, got the wires thru and reconnected them per the photos I took before taking they apart.

It is now nearly 1900 and Zehra has been back from the beach for a couple of hours, just to lend moral support. (BTW thanks honey, I really did need it!) 

(I replaced the sump pump while waiting for the sealing caulk to dry. Of course, even though I had an exact spare, the new one came wired differently and that took some noodling also. Ugh!)

Time to test… and it works! The macerator does its thing and I am relieved. Ah, Murphy strikes again because when Zehra goes to use it and there is NO water during the flush cycle. (I guess I had missed that when checking. 

But I find that by manually adding water, it works so I ask all to use the toilets ashore for their solid waste until I can resolve the water issue.

Now it is Monday and I then ask everyone to go topside, ashore, somewhere else while I resolve the water issue. (one guest departs for the mainland to buy bus tickets to go home.)

I verify that the valves are properly aligned up to the solenoid valve. I check the wiring and determine that I had mis-wired the power wire to the solenoid and when I switch them, still no water. THINKING that the wiring mistake fried the solenoid, I go to get a spare from the locker and install it, double and triple checking the wiring.

Still no water. By this time, I am frustrated, 4 hours has passed, and I am no closer to getting water.

So, I go up to the aft deck and make myself an electrical and piping drawing, and stare at it.

And stare at it. Finally a light bulb comes on. I can test the control board. During its function, the solenoid gets power, then the macerator, then the solenoid again. So, this time, armed with a VOM, and with Zehra pushing the buttons, I determine the controller is working!

So now I turn my attention to the solenoid valve itself. While Zehra pushes buttons, I determine that the proper voltage is getting to the solenoid. (Had to disassemble the solenoid to test.) After reassembly, I asked Zehra to push the buttons again but for some unknown reason, I left my hand on the solenoid! As the controller cycled, I felt a vibration as the solenoid tries to do its job, I also noticed that there were some small bubbles in the clear hose on the discharge side of the solenoid.

Thought that was strange, so I went to the back of the toilet and with a bucket in hand, removed the hose to see if water would flow out. Did NOT have to push any buttons! There was a blockage. I fished out three sheets of what appears to be toilet paper. Pondered that for a minute, reconnected the hose and cycled the controller. 

Water appears, the macerator flushes, water cleans. 

All is well again. Of course, the guests are mortified. They blame themselves for breaking it, and then watched me work 2 days to get it repaired. Of course even after all this, I still ask that everyone do their solid waste removal ashore for another day while I check for leaks. There is water everywhere and it will take days to dry before I am 100% sure there are no leaks. 

(BTW, I am still pondering how TP made it to the flush hose. If TP had somehow got into the fresh water tank, there is a pump, three filters, and a solenoid valve that it has to get past to get where I found it. Not likely, I think. Been there since new construction? Why show up now, 4 years later? Clueless and I believe I will never learn the answer!)

Meanwhile, our guests make arrangements to depart on Saturday. I am ASSURED that they are not leaving over this "event" but …… 

Our guests do depart Saturday evening, 8 Aug, by ferry, then two local buses to the long distance Bus Station, then an 8+ hour bus ride into Istanbul to pick up Mom and their car. 

It is 10 Aug before we are convinced that that the toilet is not leaking and I can finally properly mount it. It makes more noise, and different noises than the last one. 

And yes, I did disassemble the broken macerator. The motor is burned up and the impeller is quite hard to turn. I guess when the motor seized, it drew a big current thru the control board burning up some components. Since I was not there when it happened, I did not see the black smoke that may have escaped.

And remember about retribution? The Greek Coast Guard person that gave us a hard time harassed another Greek boater near to me, threatening him with a "large" fine BECAUSE the boat's name (Aqua) has to be in Greek letters and not "English" letters. Really???? The guy is a lawyer and will sort it out, but in plain view, there are three large GREEK ferry boats with their names in "English" letters, not Greek letters. The owner of this boat did say that he had complained the last time he was here about the garbage in the harbor so…… (fill in the ending yourself).

We did take one day to take a ferry boat ride across the straits to Kerimodi. The cost for two r/t was 14 euros. Kerimodi had really nothing to offer us. It is a small town whose basic purpose is to service the ferry boat users. There appear to be nice beaches there, but Thassos' are nicer. 

2015-08-22: Back on 8 Aug, just before our guests departed, Zehra and one of the guests went to the Greek Coast Guard office to remove their names from our sailing list. Zehra is not quite sure what was done then because today, when we went to the SAME office, there was again a rigmarole because the staff on duty said that our paperwork stilled showed the guests on board. We are BOTH clueless as to how this got screwed up, but it did. It took nearly 45 minutes for them to find in THEIR "deck log" that we had come on 8 Aug to remove their names. Then they spent MINUTES explaining to us how they were going to fix it, then minutes to fix it, and then FINALLY, our exit stamp.

For the record: Thassos' Greek Coast Guard office is the worst by far office we have had to deal with ever since we have been coming to Greece since 2011. The worst, by far. Hands down. The island is wonderful. They really taint it.

Some thoughts about this island and this city. There is a "farmer's market" in the city of Prinos (inland from the Port of Prinos) every Monday. We went and we were not impressed. If one uses these markets in Turkey, this one will disappoint. If not, by all means go!. There is public bus that takes you within meters of the market's entrance and it takes you back directly to the city wall you will be moored at. The city bus also goes around the island 3 times a day so if you want a cheap windshield tour, there is one.

The public beach just notheast of the Old Port is the place we spent many afternoons. The water is clear and clean and mostly clear of rocks. The beach has three huge trees that provide all the shade from the blistering sun one would want. There is a fresh water shower and a changing room. I did dig this up from the beach:

To me, it looked like a stone encased key and some type of tool. I gave it to the local museum and never heard from them. My guess is that they had a huge laugh at my expense. 

You need to buy a "key" from City Hall (restored two story building at the old Port) (use the back steps and go up to the second floor to purchase the key) (open M-F 08-1400, holidays and weekends closed!)  to get electricity and water from the Shore Power pods, but otherwise, there is no fee to moor at the wall. The pods have 16 amp connections, as well as 3 phase 32 amp and 3 phase 63 amp connections. They do NOT have a single phase 32 amp connection. Therefore, if you are a 32 amp boat like me and want 32 amps, need to have a male, 3 phase, 32 amp (4 pins) or 63 amp (5 pins) to single phase 32 amp connector on board. I could not find any shop on the island that sold any marine 3 phase connectors. If all you need is water, there is a free water tap in the corner where the quay and the city wall meet. The locals use this water a lot. Try not to loiter. 

There is NO cost to med-moor at the city wall or side moor (they call it "English" moor) along the quay wall. None. Nada, ABSOLUTELY FREE!! 

There is very limited electricity on the quay, and a lot of working pods of the city wall. 

The city wall is elevated about 1 meter above the nearby street so street noise is very very low. The pubs and cafes play music well into the night, but not loud. The city seems to roll up the sidewalks at about 0300 and roll them out again at about 0800. 

The old port.

This port was built by the Romans and they would still recognize it to this day. The sea wall offers little in the way of protection from a rough sea. Some port guides suggest one could moor in that harbor but I think one needs local knowledge to do that safely. I saw no boater other than locals use this harbor. 

If you need something fixed, there is a small shipyard at the Port of Prinos. Thomas (+306979614650) who speaks a little English runs their workshops there and will try to help.  I saw NO marine store in town. I am told by some boaters that they get their supplies in Kavala. 

If you need a full fledged boat yard, give Manitsas Stavros a call at +302594023180 / +306944365503 (ManitsasMarine.com). Per nearly all the boaters that I talked with they all winter their boats with him. 

Lastly, keep a sharp eye out for a 1938 Greek flagged wood boat named Lalin, No 26.

It was the 26th boat registered in Greece and languished for years on the hard, until a man bought it 20 years ago and has been slowly over time, restoring it to its as-built condition. He is now quite old and his family has agreed to continue the project. It med moored next to me a couple times and it is quite a sight to see. (Thomas was on that boat three times to fix things so he told me the story.)

2015-08-23. We depart today for Samothraki, Gr, an island about 36 nm away.

22 August 2015

2015 Where is LeeZe? Çanakkale > Kavala

2015 Where is LeeZe?

2015-06-17 We left Çanakkale, Turkey  yesterday and anchored over night at Kapatepe, the port where the ferries from Gokceada discharge their people. And that is all that is there. One restaurant shoreside to handle those waiting for the ferry, and a bunch of fishermen

Underway this morning at dawn for Alexandroupolis, Gr, a 43 nm run. LeeZe was fine, and the seas were calms. A Turkish Coast Guard Ship comes alongside and asked me who I am, and where I am going, we provide answers, and he departs. Guess he was satisfied. (He also probably scanned us with his infrared scope to verify that there was just two of us on board.) Had some dolphins frolic with along the way and we get into Alexandroupolis at about 1300  and moor side to.

Start the check in process and by 1530, we are done, having NOT done steps we did the last two previous check-ins. (We think they will catch up with us.) Hooked up shore power, water, satellite TV and had dinner. By 2030, a t-storm started up that literally by wind alone had LeeZe rolling about 5 degrees. Still IP as I write this.

We are here in Greece during what should be interesting times. The lady that gave to us our transit log says we are the 6th boat to check in this year, and from her mannerisms, that is too low a number to be "normal."

We are moored along a quay that is used to load trucks and cargo as there is no city wall to tie up too. We hope they will move us to a nicer part of the port but am clueless if that will happen.

Now 2155 and the rain is tampering off. Probably.

But as usual, there were some chores to be done before departure. 

One event that did not happen this year was that Mom never came to visit. We missed her not coming!

Our Tender: Every Fall, after fogging the 2-stroke engine, I left the tender on the boat deck, clean it up all nice and stuff, cover it, and tie it down. This Spring, when I uncovered it, it was FILTHY!. No clue why! Check the cover for holes and found none. Maybe I put the cover on wrong or something. So, cleaning it took a day+, with pressure washer, scouring powder, soap, and grit. Ugh. 

Then, when my neighbor was gone, we dropped it into the water along side. (OH yes, at first the hoist would not operate. Electrical issue. Then, I remember a C/B that I left open because I could not find an electrical outlet that it controlled. (I completely relabeled all electrical breakers on board over the winter since some were wrong from the yard and some were labeled in ways that was just plain embarrassing.) Turn that breaker on, and now the hoist works. (I later go to the label shop and get them to engrave the label!) Now the moment of truth. With the fuel tank full, new spark plugs installed (last year engine would not start because I had forgot to connect the wires to the plugs) drain plug installed (forgot that two years ago and had a bit of a scare as the tender filled up pretty quick) etc etc etc, pull to start the motor. Nope, nada, not a chance! Ain't cooperating, being a PITA, etc. etc etc. (This happened our first full season in Mersin, and at that time, I had failed to fog the engine correctly the previous Fall so the repair was over $150.) After numerous pulls, and still no success, the memories of Mersin flood back. So, take a breather and look into the box I have where I keep tender accessories, and what do I see? I see me being stupid, dumb, idiotic, an imbecile. There staring right back at me is the red "key" one has to install on the arm of the motor because it prevents the "dead man switch" from letting the engine run. 

So, slapping me about, I install it and the first pull, the motor starts. Relief. Take it for a short joy ride, all is well, bring it back along side, lift it back up to the boat deck, cover it up, tie it down, and done for that day with that chore!.

Changing the oil and fuel-water filters: So, LeeZe's Iveco engine needs about 20 liters of oil per the manual. There is a mechanical pump built into it and unlike in previous years, started this chore when the March winds were still blowing. Getting the first 15-16 liters out is easy; (including the sample) maybe not so hard is a better choice. You pump and out comes the oil. Fill 5 liter empty water bottles and all is going smoothly for the first 3. The next one, well, out comes two liters. Before draining I was down ½ liter or so so, in my mind, I need to get two more to come out. By this time, Zehra has a chore I need to do so we go do that.
The next morning, I decide to tacking the oil change again. This time, looking at the filter, and realizing that it is upside down, and probably full of oil, I punch a hole in its top and hear the rush of oil flow. Pump again and get another liter plus. Putting oil pads around the oil filter to catch any drips take off the old and install the new, but not tight as I am thinking that maybe with the fill cap off and the oil filter not tight, more oil will drain down.

Meanwhile, remove the four fuel-water filters and install new ones. The ones from the SEPARS filters do not look so bad, especially the starboard one as that is what is used during fuel recirculation ( some 200+ hours this past winter alone).

After installing those filters, I can test the integrity of the fuel system by running the fuel record pump and low and behold, the last filter on the engine is leaking diesel fuel like a sieve. I am not using original IVECO filters but substitutes that Iveco of Marmaris sold to me. which were different from the substitutes that Iveco from Izmir sold to me two years ago. So, after much sleuthing, I come to the conclusion that the Marmaris filters are wrong. 

Go into town and talk to my "oil man" who gives me another make and mode to try. This also leaks, so I am back to him for another one, which also leaks. Finally, I ask him to special order the same make and model that was on the engine. He says they are very expensive and that is why he usually does not stock that brand! I ask him to get me four from Istanbul, which he does, and he charges me about $5.50 for each. (The ones on his shelf are less than $3 each!) Install the "expensive ones" and no leaks!

Meanwhile since the above fiasco took days, I was able to pull out some 19 liters of oil. 

So, now, I tighten the oil filter and ponder how to get the oil from the 14 liter can out of the can and into engine. I have a hand pump but it is too small and too slow. The can is too heavy to hold above the engine and pour, so in the end, I transfer the oil from the can into liter bottles which I then transfer to the engine. Note to self: Next time dummy, buy oil in smaller jugs!. Finally got the oil in, and start the engine. All is well, stop, refill (oil filter took a full liter!) and restart, run until warm, check transmission and shut down.

Hull Cleaning: Asked around and found that there is a place up stream from us that will take LeeZe out of the water and pressure wash the hull and put her back in. The waters in the straits are filthy and hull growth is a serious issue. But he wants well over $1000 so ask around and find two divers willing to do it for 1/3 of that. They even provide a before and after video just to show you what they cleaned. They came, and took about 8 man-hours to clean LeeZe. Next year we are scheduled to paint but the divers reported that after cleaning, the paint looks pretty good soooooooooo maybe we can delay a year. Will decide later!.

So, due to weather, there was no good day to do a a seat trial. I know I should have but we ended up departing that morning a little earlier and instead of going to our first stop, we meandered around the marine for a hour JUST in case. But there was no need to return so we did move on.

2015-06-23: We are along side the wall, a big rubber tire messing up the hull paint, but the authorities are clueless to resolve. I cannot move forward as there is a sailboat present. Cannot move back because a big ship is coming (heard that for the last 5 days… still no ship!). Can't remove the tire as it is just too darn heavy. 

But I take the good weather to pull 100+ meters of 13mm anchor chain out of the locker and lay it along the wall. Once out, washed it down, verified the paint markers at every 20 meters of chain (two were wrong),  spray the entire chain with galvanizing spray paint, and then remark  the 20 meter points. 

That took the better part of the day and by 1800, was slowly reloading the anchor chain into its locker. 

Town is typically Greek. On Sundays, only cafes and restaurants are open, with the exception of two tourist shops by the ferry dock. After 1 PM on Saturday, nearly all shops are closed. Many are also closed Monday and Wednesday evenings so they can be open on Saturday Morning.

All seem to close around 2PM and reopen at about 6-7 PM. All then close between 9-10 PM. 

On Sunday afternoon, we found the young people filling up the cafes along the beach, ordering expensive euro coffees and talking. There is at that moment no word about any resolution to the financial crisis currently IP (aka Grexit) and to us, they are acting as if all is normal. 

Also on Sunday, the Greek coast guard vessel comes back from the night out with what appear to be refugees on board. 

There appears to be about 10, and after tying up, a fancy Greek Government bus shows up and the people get on that. From their looks, they look scared and frighted. Not one was smiling, (at least from what I could see.) The newspapers every day have stories about refugees being pulled from the waters between Turkey and Greece, many being found dead, etc etc. Kos, the Greek island near to Marmaris is overrun with them. Many are fleeing from Syria

Monday, it rained a light rain from noon to well past midnight, which helped wash down LeeZe. 

2015-06-30: Since my last entry, the Greeks have been either unable or unwilling to resolve their debt / loan issues with their EU counterparts and the IMF so a vote will be held Sunday to ask if the people if they should accept or reject the latest offer proposed. In the meantime, the country closed their banks and limited ATM withdrawals to no more than 60 € a day. 

This all happened over the weekend. So, last Saturday night, we went out for dinner and our customary walk. Restaurants were full and people were out and about. I suggested that this was their way of saying a last "hurrah" to the life they knew. Sunday's walk found much of the same, but with the ATM restrictions in place, standing in long lines at the ATMs that have euros has now become a thing they must do. We had dinner and Zehra posed in from of the city's restored lighthouse.

Monday, again long lines, very long lines in the morning. Even lines at 10 PM when I joined one to see if my debit card worked. It was Monday so judging crowd size is hard as Mondays is typically not so many out, but we conclude there are fewer out than customary. One waterfront fish restaurant of many was busy, and of the cheaper fast food places, only one or two were busy. Some cafes and bars had some customers, but most were quiet. 
Oh and yes, my debit card did work and I was able to get the max I am NORMALLY allowed so the 60€ limit does not effect me. (Did hide this from the people standing behind me as I did not want to draw attention that I had a different /larger limit!)

On board, the ship aft continues to run its generator loudly and I continue  painting the aft deck. A sailboat came in in the afternoon for a crew change and water so I lent him my hose. Some man who claims he comes from the Port was quite ANGRY with me for doing that because I come to learn that the Port changes a 25 € fee to open the electrical-water  supplies and then some more based on what is used. So he was angry because I let them use "my" water. When we checked in, we were told utilities were included so will resolve this when we depart.

2015-07-02:  I am here in Alexandroupolis, Gr  and have seen only "no" handouts on the street. The restaurants and bars are full, and people are happy, so it appears that they are not concerned about Sunday. There are long lines at the ATMs (even at midnight!) but even that has just become a chore people now add to the list of chores they do every day. The lady at the hardware store says she will vote no because she believes that the EU really does not want Greece to give up on the Euro so another sweeter offer will come. She absolutely believes that the drachma is not in Greece's future, but if it  does come, all Greeks will be much better off. 

2015-07-03: Someone commented "These people look like the passenger on the Titanic sipping their drink oblivious to the coming disaster." Wed., I would have said that seems to be true but yesterday, it appears they now realize (to continue with the analogy) that the cold water lapping at the bottom of their shoes indicates the ship is sinking. Yesterday, the ATM limit for Greeks went DOWN to 50€ (from 60). The restaurants, bars and cafe along the waterfront were NOTABLY lacking in customers. The restaurants in the "alley" next to the port, which are always cheaper than the waterfront  ones, (but none serve fish!) had probably 70% less customers on Thurs. compared to Wed., when we ate there. More ATMs were empty and those that were working had long lines, even at 10PM, when I took my money. (I took because sometime next week, Greece may actually run out of Euros  to dispense!) So, it appears they realize something is happening. How bad it will be if they vote "No" they cannot comprehend! Our plans are to move to Kavala on Sunday to arrive Monday.  Today we paid for our 18 days  here @ Alexandroupolis (~116€), went for a walk, and then came back to LeeZe.

2015-07-04 Happy Independence Day America! Here is not so festive. Per an observation I made on a WSJ article: I am here in Alexandroupolis, Gr and was out this morning shopping. It appeared that the supermarkets were more crowded than last Saturday, and the items in most peoples' carts seem to indicate that they were buying items to stock up just in case. (The oldish lady in front of me had numerous packages of macaroni and chocolate items.) I did see credit cards in use, but those stores made their use difficult. The cafes were FULL, as were the lines at the working ATMs. (Not as many working as earlier in the week.) The cafes had lowered their prices across the board. I talked with one youngish lady in a market and she will vote no, even though that means that her kids will be paying the price for the country's actions when they are old enough to enter the job market. She said that there has been too much pain and it has to stop. But then went on to say that a "No" vote will not end the pain, only make it last longer. I also spoke with a Greek Port Authority (Coast Guard type) person who said the Greece has been around for 2000 years, and will survive this, regardless of the level of pain inflicted by others. But he also admitted that the previous governments and the people that elected them are the cause, for which we all must have to pay for. He said he does not plan to vote tomorrow, but his co-worker, a female, did chime in that she will vote yes tomorrow, because her child needs her to. 

After shopping, did stop by the port police to get the outbound stamp.  Per everyone we talked to with the Port Police and Port Control and the Greek Coast Guard, our stay and fee includes electricity and water. However the Port Authority, last week and came by and say "oh No, not true. We charge 25€ to OPEN electricity and water and then a fee of 1€ per Kw used and 4€ per 1000 liters of water used.  Well, no one giving me my outbound / exit stamp said anything about this and I did NOT raise the topic. I consider those charges to be a rip off.  The commercial freighter behind me is using 380V / 3 phase electricity (had to– his decrepit generator that made such a loud racket that we nearly departed a week ago, but it broke) must be paying those charges. 

The Port Authority did report that a private yacht marina is being built just to the NE of the commercial harbor but right now, all there is is a sea wall and there is no money to finish. We heard this story in Chios, Samos, and Rhodes so it must be a "greek thing!" One last walk tonight and we depart toward Kavala tomorrow, weather permitting.

Note that we plan to be at anchor tomorrow night and enter Kavala on a Monday, a weekday when there probably is more support for us to moor. Also, if there is a decision on yes or no vote, and the people get angry, we would like to have some water between them and us. Prudence seems to dictate this decision. 

2015-07-10 We have been here in Kavala since Monday. For would-be boaters that are consider visiting in the June-Oct period, the inner harbor is occupied by yacht club members and charter boats and the corner seems to be reserved for the daily fishing boats that go out at night and come in the next morning. As you enter, with the inner harbor dead ahead, there is a quay wall on the west side facing south that has in some places steps coming down from the wall. 

These spots are usually reserved for Kalava people who cannot get a place in the inner harbor. This quay is way over two meters high above the water line so the steps are all but a necessity. Med moor is the only way possible to moor to this wall. There is ONE shore power pod every 150 feet or so and then there are no more. On each pod is one power outlet (16 amp) that you feed a 50 euro cent coin in one at a time to get 2-3 Kw of electricity. Water is the same way. There are two outlets, and the same coin gets you 10 minutes of water.  As this wall runs west, there are no shore power pods and no steps. There is also a wall pointing south as one comes in that has no services what so ever. So, with the high wall, the poor electrical and water supplies, the sparsity of said supplies……… this place is NOT friendly to yachters.  The man that runs the port, Gregory did say that there are plans to put in floating docks but given the monetary crisis, one should not hold one's breath. (BTW, plan to arrive at THIS port M-F, 0800-1500. Outside those hours, the Port Authority people on duty will advise you to wait until the Port Control office opens on the next business day.)

If one needs shelter from a storm, on the far west side of the harbor is a storm anchorage that has good holding. With the arrival of two to three ferries a day, I think anchoring anywhere in the vicinity of the inner / outer harbor is just not in the cards. One could ride out a storm anchored there, but I think you would be told to move if you wanted to anchor for a few days and see the city.

Gregory goes OUT of his way to accommodate you if you plan to spend some time here. He got us metered electrical and water supply and told us that the spot we are in is "owned" by someone but that person has yet to put his boat in the water. We may have to move. Gregory did say that we PROBABLY could take one of the fishing boat spots in the inner harbor, but then he retracted that saying we just might piss them off. He implied that they use the spots without paying but I am not 100% sure. We tried to moor in the inner harbor and were consistently, and quite dramatically waived off, even though on the VHF, we were told to moor there.  

Kavala itself: Well, the view of the old city to the east of the inner harbor, behind a quite substantial fortified wall, with a reasonably restored castle / fort protecting the old city from marauders is IMPRESSIVE! Walking that area takes one breath away, literally and figuratively. There is a "train

to help you get up most of the way to the castle. The view is breathtaking!

The city's tourist office is quite helpful and  answers all one's questions. Up from them is a food shopping area, consisting of a huge supermarket on the first floor and above it, a fresh fruit, vegetable, meat chicken cheese etc etc market that is open 6 days a week. First we have every seen this and it seems to have reasonable prices with good to great quality.  Dining out prices APPEAR to be higher than Alexandroupolis. 

Services: There appears to be a shipyard to the east of the port and in the old city, men who work with their hands making nearly anything one could need are all around. Stuff I could not find in Alexandroupolis I found with ease here. But, for the record, the hardware stores in Alexandroupolis are far superior than the ones here.

2015-07-19 So it looks like we might get a guest soon so we are sticking around. Yesterday, we went to Thessaloniki by bus since a review of the facilities there indicates that the marina is so far out of town that for an extended stay, we would have to use busses to get into and out of town. The city has a city wall, but it is open to the sea, and because of the absence of boats, they probably do not allow people to tie up to it. 

Plus, it has no services. Thessaloniki has stores that we have yet to see, and on Friday, nearly all stayed open during the 1500-1800 period. Many were full, at least those running significant sales. Those not were not full. I would estimate that 50% of the store fronts are closed. We visited the castle on high and walked down to the water front. There is a commercial port that seems to have seen better days. One might be able to moor there, but all the gates we saw were closed and locked, so access may be a problem. The marina is to the SE and may be 10+kms outside of town. Did not see it. There was no indication of riots like those reported in Athens the previous night. The city is much more expensive than Kavala.

Saturday, the government announced that the banks will be opened on Monday for some business. Given that they were closed three weeks ago, that seem to bring a sigh of relief. The crowd along the waterfront Saturday night were festive and alive. Or so it seemed to the Saturday night a week ago. Even the carnival with the rides was bustling. Today, I saw no one waiting at an ATM to make a withdrawal, something I had not seen in the last 3 weeks. Today was not as festive as yesterday, but even the retirees that were sitting on the waterfront's benches seem to have some smile to them. 

2015-07-21 So yesterday was the first day that banks were open after 3 weeks of being closed. Took a bike run to buy bread in the morning and each of the three major bank branches in town were packed to the rafters with people. ATM lines were also long as many banking restrictions still remain. Had to move LeeZe last nighttime space to port which we did, but got the word just before dinner and after my shower. With some help from ashore, got most of the work done by 2200 and resolved to finish the work today, which we did. Took ANOTHER shower and went out for ice cream in lieu of dinner. Today, cleaned up, made an adaptor that allows me to plug my 50 meter shore power cord into LeeZe as it really is only an extension cord. washed aft deck, loaded water (source was 100+ meters away so had to run all my hoses just to get it onboard!). Finished up just before dinner and mustered every ounce of remaining energy just to get to the shower. No walk tonight! Zehra went alone. Just nothing left in me tonight.

It turns out we should have moved a long time ago. Having the passerelle lined up with a sloping ramp of a not-in-use ferry loading dock is much safer and easier to us than lining up the passerelle with the bottom step of a 5 step staircase that one can only use when the boat is not being jostled too much.

It appears that the everyday mood of the Greeks is improving. No scientific process followed. Just observing. What is STRANGE is the fishermen that use to come and fish by us every night stopped about 5 days ago and have yet to restart. Had a talk with the Captain of the 25+ meter fishing boat moored next to me. In a nutshell, they go out 6 nights a week, 11 months a year, catch MAYBE a half of ton to a ton of fish and sells that to the local market for between 2-3 euro a kilo. After expenses, the owner takes half and the crew gets half. Backbreaking work and from what I can see, safety precautions are not a priority. The men wear flip flops, handle rope with their bare hands, and wear no eye protection. 

2015-07-25: Guests from Turkey arrive: Zehra's sister and her husband. They were in Ankara when Zehra's Mom decided that she wanted to visit a relative in Istanbul. So, they drove Mom to the relative, left Mom and took an overnight bus to Kavala that got them here at 0730, bone tired and exhausted. While MANY Turks drive here, apparently to get across the border one needs to have European Insurance and an International Driver's license, which may be a PITA to get, especially on short notice.

Our guests settle in and there is more happening now: More food to prepare, more shopping to be done, more time at the beach, and of course, the dishwasher is getting a workout. No problem! All are happy.

2015-07-29: We depart Kavala for the island of Thassos.

06 February 2015

Where is LeeZe? Fuel System Tear-out and Replacement; Jan 2015 Çanakkale, Turkey


Dear readers,

This is a special winter edition of the blog.

We are here in Çanakkale, Turkey moored in the city's marina. We have experienced this winter days as high as 20+ C, lows as low as -4 C; winds over 70 knots gusting, rain… well like buckets from the sky. We have watched ferry boat traffic from here across to the other side slow down to just one BIG ferry making the run as the winds made it just too dangerous for the other 3 ferries to run. We watched as that event caused a traffic jam the likes one might see on a Monday morning commute going into a major US City. (We come to learn that this occurs when the ferries to the North of Çanakkale are sidelined due to the intense weather on the Sea of Marmara. This crossing is the only one that might still be active in weather that is so severe that it stops all other car and truck ferries.)

So, off and on, since LeeZe became ours, I have been having fuel system issues. I had fuel leaks I could not find, fuel leaks I could not stop, fuel leaks I stopped but they recurred, vacuum leaks that seem to come and go, and one persistent vacuum leak that just defied locating. (I have even had fuel filter elements collapse into a heap inside their associated canisters.)

How do I know I had these vacuum leaks? My main engine primary fuel/water separator filter over time would fill up with air, causing an engine shutdown. When I vent that filter, air would come out, fuel would fill the filter, and the engine could be restarted. Underway, venting it periodically required a Rube Goldberg procedure that I knew I would screw up one day and possible damage the main engine.

I "conquered" this problem by wrapping each and every joint that could possible be under vacuum using plastic stretch wrap, and then taped the mess together. It "solved" the immediate problem but every time I went into the engine room, I looked at that mess and knew I could not let it stay.

And I still had fuel leaks. Small ones mind you but still leaks. And, I had fuel in the bilge coming from pipes I could not see nor reach.

Now the yard thought it put together a pretty bullet-proof system, in their mind. But honestly, it was a mis-mash of different pipe diameters, couplings and connectors. My guess is that they used what pipe they had on hand, slapped it together, used copious amounts of teflon tape and thread sealant, and in two particular cases, super-human strength to make the connections and not have any OBVIOUS fuel leaks.

In Kusadasi, we put on 1500 watts of solar panels, and this past cruising season, they supplied enough so that we used only about 25-30 liters of diesel fuel for the generator. Since the tank holds 42 liters, and the fuel use is under 1 liter per hour at 70% load, we only filled that tank once.

In winter, we have a diesel fired heater that is filled using a hose from the fuel system.

I decided to rip out the entire fuel system and redo it. Before I did that, I sat in the engine room and thought and looked and pondered and thought some more. Zehra thought I was crazy. What I was doing was in my mind, redesigning the system to what I needed.

With the help of a local Çanakkale boater, I was introduced to a hydraulic hose shop in town. This boater also introduced me to a pipe guy also.

I toyed with replacing the system with either SS of brass pipes, but the pipe guy said it would cost a fortune. So, that left the hose guy.

What I wanted down they had never done before. They said they were willing to make it up, but could not guarantee that my problems would be solved. They were suggesting to use 10mm inside diameter hose with full port manual hydraulic system rated valves.

The next size up was 25 mm and I knew that was way to big.

I thought this 10 mm hose would be fine because the hose the main engine company provided to connect to the fuel system was 3/8" diameter which is 9.5 mm inside diameter.

So, first, had to disconnect the old piping. Now, some of the couplings used an 18 mm wrench, most used 22 or 27 mm, but 8 needed a 36 mm wrench to undo. And remember that super human strength comment? Well, two of these 36 mm couplings were tighten with such force that they were deformed (therefore there NO HOPE of getting them to stop leaking) and to separate them required a wrench, a breaker bar, and two burly hydraulic shop guys.

Taking apart the others also required a lot of sweat, many scraped knuckles, and in more than a few cases, numerous use of a large rubber mallet.

As more of the system came apart, leaks that I thought I had stopped I had not. Vacuum lines leaked fuel when under pressure during fuel cleaning, pressurized connections were weeping small amounts of diesel fuel, and the main engine's fuel pump fuel supply line connection had been over torqued during assembly and the housing was cracked. (I thought I was going to have to buy a new fuel pump, and when I priced it, it was over $500. However, the hydraulic shop said this happens a lot and they had a pre-engineered repair procedure that restored it like new. Whew! Dodged a $$$ bullet)

Once apart, it was time to measure and get the new hoses made up. Using pictures, a drawing on how I wanted to change the system, and suggestions from the shop people, we slowly got the stuff made. At times, given what needed to be done, they found the part and modified it on the lathe since in general, their parts are for the big boy hydraulic machines, not my teeny-ass fuel system.

But, with nary a complaint, we got it done. Installation was a whole lot easier using machined connectors with internal o-rings that would seal under pressure or vacuum without thread sealant. There was 4 places where thread sealant was required but even then, I was confident these would not leak.

Of course, I made a mistake. I decided to keep one valve from the original system. It is a 3-way valve directing fuel to either of the two fuel pumps I have. Keeping this valve meant that custom connectors had to be turned on the lathe and for some foolish reason, I kept this valve.

So, I get the system together 10+ days ago and while the engine runs fine, there was STILL A DAMN VACUUM LEAK. How do I know? The same filter as before is filling up with air, more slowly mind you than before, but still filling with air.

So, I sit in the engine room and ponder my dilemma. First I think it is the fuel filter connectors recently repaired but nope, not them. Then I check to see if maybe I had cracked the other fuel pump housing or connectors… nope nada. Then I check to see if I cross threaded any connection… nope, had not. Then check to see if maybe the new valves are not vacuum tight (yup, they are.)

Finally, there is one valve I just could not figure out how to check–The three way valve. By process of elimination, it has to be the source, but from where I am clueless.

So, take that valve out and take it to the hardware store where I buy fitted brass plugs so I can plug the ports, then off to a gas station where I pressurize the valve using the air pump used to fill tires (you should have seen the look on the station's attendants but they did not interfere!).

At 30 psi, could not tell anything. At 50 psi, the leak "announced" itself with a shrill noise. The location? The valve's stem is leaking.

Great! Back to LeeZe, take the valve apart, noticed rust inside, or what looked like rust. Thought that was strange. Cleaned that up, resealed the stem with new "o" rings, re-assembled, and went back to the gas station.

You can guess where this is going………

Valve leaked again. Same place–lower pressure.

Off to the hydraulic shop with valve in hand. (Please keep in mind that I am using my folding 20" bicycle to get around town!) Explain the problem the best that I could and while doing that, the owner slips away, only to return a few minutes later with a catalog, showing this same model valve, with a description that says in effect, this valve is not to be used in a vacuum system.


Back to LeeZe. Now it is Friday, a week ago. Back I go and sit in the engine room. I need to replace this three-way valve with another manifold. Sketch something up and decide to sleep on it.

Monday, back to the shop with my sketch of a two valve manifold coming off a hydraulic pipe tee. and 4 hoses that have to be modified. All is ready in about four hours (more machining!) and back to LeeZe to install. Nope, not right. Where the shop thought I needed a 90 degree fitting, I did not. Back to the shop, they correct, we have a tea (the thread sealant has to be given some time to do its thing before testing) and back on the bike to LeeZe.

On this ride, the sky opens, hail pours down, lightning announces the thunder's arrival, and my head hurts from being pounded on by the hail.

Back on board I assemble the items, but since it is almost dinner time, decide to test the next day.

Tuesday, after breakfast, with Zehra at the fuel cleaning pump switch at the helm with a walkie-talkie, I check everything, align the valves as needed, and she starts the pump.

I hear strange noises as the pump pulls the fuel from the tank thru the filters that were filled with some air, thru empty hoses, and back to the tank. But after a few minutes, all the strange noises stop, the normal pump noise is all that I am hearing, and differential pressure across the filters is higher than "normal" (and these are brand new) so it appears that I have increased the flow thru the system. Later I do I test and where before it took just over 3 minutes to fill a 5 liter bottle, now it is just under two.

It appears all is as it should be so I sit at the system, peering hard for any tell-tales leaks.

Seeing none, and after hours, there is no discernible air in that fuel filter, I think I can declare victory. (I take a picture of the new system and give it to the shop, just to show them what it looks like.)

But, of course, not really done.

In the process of making this change, there is about 12 meters of fuel lines that I am no longing using. These direct fuel to the generator and diesel heater. Since removing them at this second is not a priority, I decide to cap them. Taking pictures of what I want to cap, I go off to my trusty hardware store and he gives me 4 caps.

Yup, too easy…… They do not work. Thursday back to him to return said caps, off to the hose shop who ponders and ponders and then gives to me two caps to try, then back to LeeZe where those NEW caps do not work. (That picture I gave to them? The owner got a frame and put it up on his wall, next to his business license, with LeeZe's boat card in the frame! How cool is that

Looking around at all of the pipe parts and pieces I have, I come to see that there is a common connector that could work. To make a long story short, I find 4 connectors, go to the hardware store, found 4 brass caps that work, pay the store some $2, and come back to LeeZe and cap those lines.

Now I am done.

In total, I counted today that the old system used 19 pieces of various diameter and lengths of pipe, 9 valves, and 111 couplings or connectors.

The new system has 10 valves (but no "T" valve!), and some 57 connectors / couplings, with 50 of those machined and fitted with an "O" ring, 1 hose clamp, and the rest thread sealed. The fuel return line from the engine is now one continuous piece of hose so the leaks from the multiple coupling return line are a thing of the past!

I now have a hose to fill the generator and diesel heat fuel tanks, so those hard pipes are capped and can no longer leak.

Visually, the system looks cleaner. I will get valve tags made up but even Zehra can figure out how to properly align the fuel system so fuel can get to the engine.

I have a new capability of being able to completely isolate either fuel pump and change it without having to shutdown the engine.

Here are some before and after pictures

12 January 2015

Where is LeeZe? Sept Moudros > Oct 2014 Çanakkale, Turkey

Dear readers,

Sorry for the delay in writing this but I had some computer problems that had to be resolved before I could finish  writing this blog.

I left the last entry with our arrival in Moudros Gr on 2 Sept.

The town is quite a sleepy one and we have come to learn that it is SO SLEEPY that when a new boat arrives at the dock, the many of the town's people come out to check it out. Our French dock mates had warned us about this but it is a little creepy to be eating dinner or watching TV when two or more strangers peak in on you. It turns out that we are the new show in town until a very large yacht comes in to the commercial pier, but alas, it does not stay long.

The approach to the harbor is scary as my various references on board state that the water is just 3-4 meters deep in the channel, much less outside the channel, rocks everywhere, and the channel itself is not marked well. But we purchased a cruising guide from Eagle Ray out of Athens that for all intensive purposes, was like having a person with local knowledge in the pilot house. This guide was accurate and detailed, and gave us the confidence that we needed to enter without mishap. We moored side too because that harbor was so small and shallow in so many places that side too was all that was available. And, even though med moor was not possible, the local authorities charged us a 25% surcharge for being side too. Still, at about 10 euros a day with electricity and water, that was not bad.

Town itself is quite small. The main restaurants are along the harbor's wall, and there are none in the town itself. There are sandwich shops in town along with a couple of grocers and a very (!) nice hardware store. The town was the place where during WW1and II, many ships came in to prepare for war against Russia. The pictures that we saw showed so little room between the ships that one could appear to walk from one to the other. This is also the harbor where the UK, Aussie, and NZ forces used to prepare for their assault on Turkey in 1915. Again, wall to wall ships. (I may have some of this history wrong.)

Tourists come to this town to visit the Cathedral

we are told but in our numerous walks into town, we never found it open. This town was just a little too quiet for us, 

but for our French dock mates, they must have loved it because they had been here for more than a month and did not seem to be in a hurry to leave.

But we did, at the first weather window, move to Myrina. The day was 8 Sept and the move was not too bad.

We find the city wall somewhat empty 

and with the help of the first, and so far, only day-tripper boat Captain (to our port side in the picture above) we have come across in Greece so far this year, we tie up stern too. Water and electricity is free here also, like Moudros, but there is a movement to start charging for it once they can get the machines that control such things working. This being Greece, there does not appear to be any urgency toward making that happen. So be it.

It turns out that we lucked out and dropped our anchor in 13 meters of water where the bottom was less fouled with debris than the western part of the anchorage. While here, we saw one sailboat needing to hire a diver ($$$$$) to help them retrieve their fouled anchor, and watched another boat struggle in rough seas to retrieve their anchor. (More on this in a moment.)

But the day is calm and clear, and we settle in, this time prepared with bow lines to the wall for when the wind comes.

And it does come, sometimes up to 30 knots. Most of the time, the hill behind us shields us from the North and East winds, but we did have two days where there were strong westerly winds, and these two days saw fishing trawlers come in and moor side too, three abreast, off our starboard side just meters away. (This was the day some sailors / friends from the 2012 East-Med Yacht Rally came into the harbor at dusk to escape the weather, dropped anchor near the harbor's mouth, and between the rain, the wind, and the waves, and whatever they had grabbed on the bottom with their anchor, they struggled to get ready, retrieve and come in. This was also the same day that at 1815, I was asked if I could move my stern 5-10 meters to port to make room for these three fishing trawlers that we coming in. I said sure, could do tomorrow…. nope, big miss communication as he wanted me to do it in the next 15 minutes. Told him not a chance, and good thing I did because those rally friends needed that spot to tie up.)
(Three 25+ meter fishing trawlers take shelter next to me because strong winds are forecasted!)

(A snapshot from my aft deck. There is maybe 1.5 to 2 meters between me and them. Their skill in coming alongside each other and "squeezing" in between me and a sailboat whose owner could not be found was amazing to witness. 

(This is a pictures of the last of the 3 trawlers coming in. The wind and waves in the inner harbor made the entrance "interesting.")

Myrina: Nice town. It has two reasonably sized supermarkets, some great butchers, a decent hardware store, and nice restaurants. The main shopping street leads from the port past the fort toward the Greek Church in the center of town. But like in the rest of Greece, shopping hours are set in stone, and not even a cruise liner with hundreds of passengers coming ashore on a Sunday can get the shop owners to open. How sad!

The Fort is up about 900 meters from the town vertically, and occupies a large plateau. 

It has been around since Roman times and for some reason, was shelled 3 times by a passing German WWII submarine. It is in the process of being restored, with some information available. 
(Zehra at the flag!)

We found it strange that little is known about this fort. People say the information was destroyed sometime in the past, but knowing how the Ottomans kept detailed records of nearly every place they took over and restored or rebuilt, I find the lack of info to be a little disturbing. There are buildings within the fort whose purpose can only be guessed at. 

Some it its history is known, but there are huge gaps in it. The local authorities are just now trying to make the entrance way more visitor friendly and if I cared to guess, their "to-do" list must fill many books. There are plenty of opportunities to trip and fall, and some precarious paths one takes to get to the good spots.

My gut tells me that the view from the fort at night has to be breathtaking, but to climb up (or down) at night is probably life threatening. 

At the base of the fort to the North like a really nice beach with bars and cafes along the shore. This is where the young people hang out but life along this area is still pretty tame. 

Our typical day (not Sunday) is to take a walk in the mornings among the shops and the beach, and once or twice a week, go to the grocery store in the late afternoon for whatever we need. Either before or after dinner, we would again take a walk, and then settle in for the night. The night after our rally friends came in (to take refuge from the westerlies) we sat down on board their boat and caught up! 

After they left, we meet some Greek Americans from Cleveland who come to this island every year as their family is still on the island. They turn out to know a lot about the island, and they are a wealth of info.

But after two weeks, and with our visas expiring in two weeks, we start looking for a weather window so we can depart. We find one during the fourth week of September but the locals tell us for SURE there will be one the first week of October.

You can guess where this is going!

There is no good weather window. So, I want to talk with the Passport police, and the port authority people give them a call for me to help me answer what happens if we cannot leave before our visas expire. There is some room for interpretation in their answer so I go and search out their office. One would think they would be at the Port like every other passport police office has been in every other Greek Port of Entry, but not here. And the Greeks really cannot point out on a town map where their office is. They give directions like go the street with the bread store on the corner, turn left, go up three or 4 streets to the corner where there is a florist, then etc etc etc….

So, with my bicycle, I go out and search for them. Turns out they are located at the top of the shopping street, in the same building as the Greek Police, but access to them is via an unmarked door down a alley.

Good thing I checked because on the phone they said our visas were good for three months, but when queried exactly what date they expire, come to learn the visa is good for 90 days.

But, they are also quite accommodating. If we cannot leave, they will check us out, and they ask that we stay close to the boat and not go wandering around the island and that we leave when the next good weather window occurs.

Ok, so with that answer, we realize that they are not going to kick us out nor put us in jail. Good!

But the Weather God shows some mercy and on 6 Oct, we depart toward GoKceada, Turkey. But while the weather is good, the current around the island is strong, and not favorable for us so we anchor in a very quiet (eerily quiet) in Kereirio Kimonos harbor and hope the next day is better. This harbor was spooky quiet, spooky empty, spooky everything. There were no boats near by, no lights ashore, no music heard, no life recognized except for the very small fishing boats that we pass us at odd hours of the night.

We awake on 7 Oct to reasonable good weather, and fighting the current some more, make our way to KaleKoy Gokceada Turkey. We arrive in the late afternoon and after not being able to contact anyone ashore, we come into the harbor and look around. 

There is an old man waving to us to come alongside so we do, starboard side too. But he is just a bundle of nerves, not making much sense telling me to bring LeeZe closer to the restaurant boat just ahead of me, demanding I do it now, quickly, and gets so excited that somehow, he falls into the water pier side, cutting his hand, drowning his cell phone, and his wallet.

Come to learn that he is just a local fisherman, but wanted us close to the restaurant boat because BIG trawlers were coming in behind me (which they did, 6 days later!!!)

This docking excitement is not what we need. For some reason, we just cannot communicate to these highly excitable people that we will comply with their wishes, but not in the next 30 seconds, but during the next hour. Zehra really does not want to piss them off but there are times we would just like them to go away. We ask them politely, but that does no good. We do not want to get nasty but it appears that may be what needs to happen. LeeZe is 44 tons, and steel. I can get close to that restaurant boat, but want to do it with lines, not engine power. That takes time, and these "helpers" ashore are just do not have patience.

Anyway, we are in, and settled.

We are back in Turkey, so while there is no pork, and wine is expensive, there is a "farmer's market" (not a good one mind you but after not having one for so long, any market is acceptable!) and stores open all hours, fresh bread available at nearly any hour of every day, and where one can get a real shave at the barber shop! (Yup, that is right. I could find no barber in the greek towns we were in that could give me a shave, any shave! So that first one after 3 months without one, with a straight edge razor to boot, is like heaven!)

Electricity at this port is erratic, with voltage being all over the map. (My thanks AGAIN To Arild, who designed my electrical system to handle these erratic shore power availabilities. (He has recently passed and I hope that wherever he is, he is enjoying his new life there with gusto! )) 

Water is also available, but arrangements have to be made with the Port Captain to turn it on.

The port itself is about 5-6 kilometers from town, and one rides a dolmus (12 person minibus that runs on a set route that one hails to get on or off) to get there. As this island is very near to the Istanbul Straits, it has strategic value and that is obvious from the military presence on the island.

We have decided to winter over in Çanakkale, Turkey so to make the arrangements, Zehra takes a day trip involving 4 ferries, 4 bus rides, and lots of waiting to and from Çanakkale to get the info first hand.

Meanwhile, I have some work I want to do, and try to find someone who could haul the tender and pressure wash the sea growth off its bottom. Although the port captain said he would find someone, he does not come thru so that chore is left for another day.

There is not much to this island, and having had some pretty rotten luck with finding god weather windows, we decide that the first good one we get we will depart.

That turns out to be 7 Oct, and we depart. The run is very uneventful but it gets boring very quick when we are bucking a 2-3 knot current going up the Dardanelles to Çanakkale. The last 12 nm takes more than 6 hours. I had expected the Dardanelles to be very busy, but it was not as busy as expected. 

Cutting across the down leg lane to get into the up leg lane took more than an hour and then going further west to try to find good water with little current took even longer. 

But we eventually arrive in Çanakkale,
med moor right in front of the office, and conclude this season. We will have to move west a little later because that is where the stronger lazy lines are installed, but we are in, safe and sound. As this is a city marina, the bathrooms and showers are not as elegant as private marinas, but we will manage.

The city is some 50-75 meters from our pasarella, and it appears to be always lively, as there are universities in town. A few days after arrival we go to Kusadasi to pick up our car, stay with a superb friend, have a great steak and potatoes meal with 11 more friends, 
and depart the next morning back to Çanakkale.

That concludes this blog entry. Of course, comments and questions are warmly welcomed. If you receive the link to this blog via a personal email, and no longer wish to, just me me know and I will remove you from the list. No hard feelings, OK?

Thanks for taking the time

Lee and Zehra Aboard MV LeeZe

Çanakkale, Turkey

PS: OK, now I promised to fill in the gap between Mytilini and Molivos.

Turkey had Presidential elections on 10 August so to ensure that Zehra could vote, we departed Mytilini on 4 August and dropped anchor in Ayvalik so Zehra could catch a plane to Ankara and vote.

We did not want to go thru the hassle of checking out of Greece and then checking back in so we did this surreptitiously. We had some excitement on the crossing. Turns out the hydraulic rudder arm the steering system uses separated from the rudder post itself and the clunk I heard when that 55 kg arm dropped to the steel deck was AWESOME!

Thank GOD the weather was clear, calm, the seas nearly flat and no one was around us. (Zehra says that I have no "Cojones"  and tend to wait for the "perfect" weather to get to the next port, and I do tend to wait for good weather. Had this failure occurred in windy or rough weather, the recovery would have been a hell of a lot more complicated, and dicey, and un-nerving!)

Tried to jury rig something but failed.

So, while at idle, in deep water, disassembled the clevis connector, reattached the hydraulic arm to the clevis, and repined the clevis to the rudder post. Zehra is at the helm with the words to drop the anchor if we get into water some 10 meters deep of less. Never had done this before. And, thankfully, we hardly move while I do the repair!

The failure could have been worse because if it had happened 30 minutes later, we would have been in a very narrow channel approaching Ayvalik with very little margin for error.

So, after reassembling, we go to shallow water, anchor and I have Zehra move the rudder left and right a dozen times and verify that this is not going to fall apart again. With that test complete and sat, we slowly motor our way thru the narrow channel (hand steering just in case) and drop the hook off the city wall (Ayvalik#1 above)

That turns out to be a mistake because the traffic from the day charter boats is just too much so we opt to go further into the harbor and anchor in a quieter area.  (Ayvalik #2 on the map above!)

Ayvalik's harbor is NOT clean. One would not want to take a swim in this harbor. The only place to moor pier side was at the fishermen's port on the North side of the harbor and they wanted over $50 a night to moor. Compared to what we were paying for a med moor spot in the Greek Islands, we consider this to be highway robbery!

Anyway, Zehra got to vote,
(Here she is at a waterside cafe just before going to vote!)

we stocked up at a large grocery story, and then got underway for Molivos, arriving there on 15 August. (One thing we forgot to stock up on is tea. If you are a tea drinker, compared to the price in Turkey, tea prices are through the roof so if one likes tea, buy it in Turkey before going west!)

We had no more rudder problems the rest of the trip, but this winter, will take it apart and reassemble it using some techniques the engineer I talked with from the factory suggested.

For those that are interested, here are some screen shots of our trip:
Mitilini > Ayvalik

Ayvalik >Molivos > Moudros

Moudros > Myrina> to an anchorage overnight >Gokceada

Gokceada > Çanakkale, Turkey 

Çanakkale City Marina